I’ve always dreamed of opening a ski hill where folks would only ride rope tows, ski on 10′ long wooden planks, and wear wool sweaters and they schussed down the mountain. A little throwback to skiing’s romantic, though not as glamorous or safe, past. It’s no secret that I love ski history, but I’m not alone. Over at NELSAP (the New England Lost Ski Area Project), thousands of people having shared, and are sharing, their stories of hills they knew and loved that no longer exist.
Plus, I live in the states, perhaps the most entrepreneur-addicted country in the world. We love stories of success. Of people that took risk and succeeded, especially when it is something we are fond about (like our favorite mountain). With the appreciation of our skiing forefathers on the brain, I started searching out resorts that were using their history as a marketing tool and how it was done. I found four simple ways ski areas were showcasing their past:
1) VIDEO – Sugarloaf’s “Big Mountain. Big Love.”
Sugarloaf hired Kurt Miller, Warren’s posterity, to create a film that would celebrate Sugarloaf’s 60th aniversary. The result, Big Mountain, Big Love tells a great story about a great mountain. There is something about stories that resonates in us as humans. Video is one of the most powerful media to accomplish this.
2) HISTORY PAGE – Mount Snow’s “Fountain Mountain”
While it was somewhat hard to find, Mount Snow’s history page is one of the few web pages I have read in it’s entirety (outside of a blog post) in a while. A fun timeline of risk, dreams, frustration, and skiing that really made me feel like I had some new connection with Mount Snow that I didn’t before. There are quite a few resorts that have these pages, many of them seem to be painstakingly created by gather dozens of old photos and stories, but are now shoved in a corner to make way for other info.
3) CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARIES – Alta’s 70th
When Alta turned 70, everyone knew it. They didn’t do much but they didn’t have to. Lift ticket specials, a logo that featured the dates (1938 – 2008), a limited edition poster offered by the Alta Historical society and just a little blip here and there in their promotional materials reminding people how long Alta has “been for skiers”.
4) OLD PHOTOS – Beaver Mountain’s Main Lodge
When skiers come in and rest their legs for a few at “the Beav“, they sit at picnic tables in a large, open room. The walls are covered with old photos of Beaver in the early days before expansions and nicer lifts (still no high speed quads at this mom-n-pop resort, quite literally, the owner and his wife have sold and stamped my lift ticket more than once). It’s a simple feature but a fun way to enhance the product that is skiing by telling a story at the same time.
Not everyone loves ski history, but not everyone loves terrain parks or steeps or high speed lifts or 5-pack lift tickets or big, ritzy villages. Your resort may have a story to tell that your skiers are waiting to hear.
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